Travel, transport and getting around
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Having access to suitable transport can make a big difference to someone with additional needs. This section has information about home to school travel assistance for SEND, as well as discounted travel schemes and passes and help with parking in the borough.
Travel assistance for SEND
Brent transport policy sets out how we assist with the cost of transport for pupils aged 5 to 16 who live in the borough and who meet the eligibility criteria for support. When making a decision about whether to grant travel assistance we will assess the following:
- The individual pupil or young person's specific needs
- The parents/carers' legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school
- The suitability of the school, as defined in the guidance
- The council’s duty to ensure an efficient use of resources
A ‘suitable’ school means a locally managed (maintained) or foundation primary or secondary school in Brent. The council will also help with the wish of a parent to send their child to a particular school which provides religious education of a particular religion or denomination to which the parent adheres. We use an accurate method of measuring the distance between home and school along the shortest possible safe walking route.
Eligibility for children aged 5-16
An ‘eligible’ child/young person is defined as someone who meets at least one of the following criteria:
- A child/young person with special educational needs, who has a disability or mobility problem, who lives within the walking distance, but cannot be expected to walk because of the nature of their special educational need or disability
- A child/young person who cannot be expected to walk because of the nature of his/her route
- A child who lives beyond the statutory walking distance (two miles for pupils aged 5 to 7, and three miles for those aged 8 and over) from their nearest suitable school
- A child aged between 8 years and 10 years old in a low–income family living more than two miles from their preferred suitable school. Children from low income groups are defined in the Education Act as those who are entitled to free school meals, or those whose families are in receipt of their maximum level of Working Tax Credit (WTC).
- A young person in a low-income family living between two to six miles from his/her suitable secondary school
Eligibility for travel assistance for young people aged 16-19
We may offer assistance to students whose ability to attend or to complete a course might be affected by the availability of transport or their ability to pay for the transport provision that is available.
Eligibility for assistance will depend upon but not be limited to:
- Distance travelled
- Establishment and the course being attended
- The availability of alternative resources
For further information read Brent's transport policy statement for students aged 16-19.
Travel assistance for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
Travel assistance may be provided for children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan who cannot reasonably be expected to travel to school or college independently because of the nature of their needs, even if the journey is within the ‘statutory walking distance’ described above.
Pre-school children. Parents/carers will normally be expected to transport their children to non-statutory provision. However, children aged two years or older who have been placed in a nursery school or children’s centre for the purpose of assessing their special educational needs, may be granted assistance with travel at the council’s discretion in exceptional circumstances.
Children aged 5-16. Where a pupil has an EHC plan, a decision to grant transport assistance will be taken at the time the school placement is agreed. Just because your child has an EHC plan does not necessarily mean that we will provide travel assistance. The council does not have a duty to assist when parents have decided to send their child to a school that is farther away than the one we have deemed suitable to meet their child’s needs. In these cases, parents will be required to make and fund their own travel arrangements.
When considering whether travel assistance is necessary, we will take into account the following:
- The special educational needs and/or disabilities of the student; for example, where the child has severe learning difficulties or would have considerable difficulty in walking or using public transport due to their disability
- The need for specialist transport, including an assessment as to whether the student has a physical or medical disability that rules out the use of free public transport
- Whether suitable public transport is not conveniently available (e.g for wheelchair users or students who require specialist seating arrangements or equipment)
- The distance of the student’s home from their school/college
- Whether the student is deemed to be vulnerable and at risk of danger if they use public or other transport
- The nature of the route to school, including the safety of the route and what alternatives are available
- The potential capability of the student to travel independently to school/college if they receive suitable travel training
Appealing a travel assistance decision
If you wish to appeal against a decision not to provide travel assistance, you must write to the Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENAS) at Brent Civic Centre, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 0FJ. The service will respond to your appeal within 20 working days.
Independent travel training
Support is provided through an accredited travel training scheme, which helps pupils to develop the necessary skills that they need to get to and from school on their own. It is only available for those pupils with an education, health and care (EHC) plan who the council is currently, or might in the future, transporting on Brent Transport Service (BTS).
Who to contact for help
If you have questions or queries about home to school travel assistance, independent travel training or need help filling in an assessment form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8937 6786.
Travel schemes and passes
Discount schemes and passes that people may be eligible to apply for:
- Disabled Persons Freedom Pass can be used on London buses, London Underground and Overground and National Rail services
- A Disabled Persons Railcard offers one third off rail fares throughout Great Britain for those who are eligible
- Zip Oyster lets young people aged 11 to 15 travel for free or at discounted rates.
- 18+ Student Oyster photocard offers discounted travel if you're aged 18 or over, a student and living in a London borough
- Please offer me a seat badge is a free badge and card system aimed at making journeys easier and more comfortable for people with impairments, conditions or illnesses
- Dial-a-Ride is TFL's free door-to-door service for those with permanent or long-term disabilities
- Taxicard is a scheme for London residents with serious mobility and sight impairments
Driving and parking
The Blue Badge parking scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you, or your passenger, has a permanent disability that affects your ability to walk. A disabled person's parking space is a parking space marked on the public highway by a white painted box with a sign indicating that it is for the use of Blue Badge holders only.
The Motability Scheme can help you lease a car if your child is aged three or over and is entitled to either the:
- Higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
To help with the cost of driving you may be able to get:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which helps with mobility costs
- Vehicle tax exemption or reduction
Visit the Gov.UK website for more information about driving with a disability, and concessions you may be entitled to.
Maps and useful information
Visit www.tfl.gov.uk/transport-accessibility for further information about accessible transport options in London. Visitlondon.com also has details about attractions and places to go in the capital for people with disabilities and access requirements. Transport for London travel mentoring service offers advice on planning journeys with accessible routes, and help for people with mobility scooters and aids on bus services. Mentors will even come along for your first journey.